Ireland’s first national Arts Charter for the greater participation of older people in the arts was published today by Age & Opportunity, after a three year process of consultation and development.
The Charter sets out the arts sector’s commitment to promoting key values and guiding principles in engaging with older people. The Charter also demonstrates a commitment to the participation of older people in the arts as artists, audiences, creators, critics, teachers and learners. It considers elements such as accessibility, participation, dialogue, communication, diversity, policy and programming.
“We hope that this pioneering Charter will result in more opportunities for older people to engage in the arts across Ireland. We also hope that it leads to older people having better experiences and greater enjoyment in the arts,” said Tara Byrne, Arts Programme Manager with Age & Opportunity.
Seven organisations are piloting the Charter over 12-months: Axis Arts Centre (Dublin), The Glucksman (Cork), An Grianán (Donegal), Wexford Arts Centre (Wexford), IMMA (Dublin), IFI (Dublin) and Town Hall Theatre (Galway). They will assess how the Charter works within their organisations and test its impact on older people’s confidence in and experiences of the arts. Following the pilot, Age & Opportunity will roll out the Charter among arts organisations nationwide.
One respondent to a survey carried out during consultation on the Charter said: “I think there’s lots of excellent work being done to include and represent people of all ages [in the arts], but the barriers vary, and resources are limited, so we are a long way from equality yet.”
“I feel that we could be doing more in accessing the potential of older people.”
“Just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean I’m incapable of offering quality workshops or quality online content.”
As part of the Charter design process, Age & Opportunity engaged with arts organisations, older artists, and older arts participants. Some of these arts participants involved described what the arts means to them. For further information see here. To read more about the background to the Charter, see here.
National Arts Events Listings also launched
Age & Opportunity also announced today the launch of a new section – Arts Events – that is being piloted on its Bealtaine Festival website for organisations and the public. This is a national listing of arts events welcoming to older people taking place throughout the year. It was inspired by Bealtaine Festival participants asking if it were possible to promote events which happen outside of the festival month of May. Organisations and individuals can sign up and register their events on the website so that people can check out what’s happening around Ireland between June and April.